Loss II


I associate burnt baked beans with his death. I got the letter, it was hand delivered. Of course you know, you know by that point. But you open it, you open it because you know, you also know that it’s not true. Not true. I read it. And then tea was burning. The beans were black, actually black. Fine one minute, and then all black and stuck to the bottom. The sausages were ok, they were just in the oven. But the beans were black. I suppose some time must have passed but I didn’t, didn’t know that it had. I turned off the heat, and I put the pan in to soak. Big, great big puffs of steam. And I wondered if, I wondered how much he suffered. What it was like. You don’t want to. You scream at yourself not to. But you still do. You still wonder if the body, if it tries to breathe – like a dream where you have to move but you can’t. The feeling of gasping, needing, your lungs bursting for air, gasping, and breathing water. Thicker. Thicker. Thicker than it should be. And I was ashamed. I was ashamed that this, this officer, or whatever, was standing there, seeing me in my pink fluffy slippers, cooking beans and sausages for tea. I mean it’s the look of the thing, isn’t it? I felt ashamed. Guilty. Obviously he was perfectly, obviously he was very respectful, but I couldn’t help feeling that he, he was looking down on me.

I still eat baked beans. I don’t like them, and it always makes me think of him. I see him. And sometimes he’s a little, rotten, baked bean, lying at the bottom of the sea in his black tin can. But I still eat them. I don’t want to be someone who – I mean you have to carry on don’t you? You have to. You have to.

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